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ASEAN launches biodiversity boost program though youth action

MANILA – A new development programme was launch to provide an opportunity to ASEAN mainstream biodiversity that will promote transformational change in ASEAN region’s economies and societies by the power of youths.

A new program was launched on this date by the European Union-funded ASEAN Youth Biodiversity Programme (AYBP) will provide enhancing young people-to-people connectivity among ASEAN Member States and engaging each other to support for this important cause, qualified participants are ranging to 15-35 year of age. This programme is to showcase the significance of preserving the rich biodiversity of Southeast Asia and to reinforce joint actions for defending the environment, and participants can join the local, national and regional categories, stated by ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), this organization is a firm supporter of preserving the environment in the ASEAN region, with programmes in particular supporting biodiversity conservation in ASEAN.

H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Deputy Secretary-General for Socio-Cultural Community of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) said “Our youth is a vital asset,” during the lunch. He also noted that; youth action is needed to save Southeast Asia’s bountiful natural assets like the Coral Triangle, the earth’s focal of aquatic biodiversity and Southeast Asia’s biodiversity is increasingly under threat from climate change, habitat destruction, rapid urbanization, population explosion, and other factors, the ASEAN official stated.

According to ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), “Biodiversity is central to mankind. In the ASEAN region, more than 600 million people depend on biodiversity for their livelihood. Hence, the on-going deterioration of natural resources and the decline of ecosystems as well the extinction of numerous animal and plant species constitutes an on-going threat for ASEAN’s sustainable development.”

About 20% of the global biodiversity, approximately 35% of the global mangrove forests and 30% of the coral reefs are found in the ASEAN Member States (AMS). Indeed, the ASEAN region is host of more biological diversity than any other region of Earth. The main cause of this programme is to boost awareness on the severity of global biodiversity damage and deprivation of ecosystems and stress the negative impact worldwide.

During the launching, they were 33 percent of ASEAN’s population, making the youth sector budding conservation agents and have significant roles to play in the present conservation efforts for our natural heritage.

Mainly two programmes were activated for the youth participants, these are the Youth Biodiversity Leaders (YBL) training and Youth Internships in ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs). The programme will start on fourth quarter of 2018, applications and other information will be furnished by ABC.

Philippine Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Roy Agullana Cimatu,  said, “We need everyone to do their share in protecting the environment,” he said in his letter and read on his behalf by Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones at the event. While ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim stated “Biodiversity needs faces. We need community leaders, scientists, and others the public can identify with.”

During the last 22nd May 2018, the European Union (EU), the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the ASEAN Secretariat mutually celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity in Siem Reap, Cambodia. And launched the EU-ASEAN Biodiversity Youth Video Competition #MyNatureMyHero, the series of events and campaigns devoted to the festivity of the 40th anniversary of EU-ASEAN dialogue in 2017 and highlights the perspectives of youth in biodiversity conservation in ASEAN. With biodiversity as a splendid theme video competition itself was aimed at enhancing ASEAN connectivity among ASEAN Member States showcasing the standing of preserving the rich biodiversity of Southeast Asia and to strengthen joint engagements for protecting the environment.

The 10 finalists (one from each ASEAN Member State) are:

  • Brunei: Nur Bazilah binti Zainal Abidin
  • Cambodia: Saing Kimleng
  • Indonesia: Adeline Tiffanie Suwana
  • Laos: Kannika Sisavong
  • Malaysia: Faridah Binti Mohd Saman
  • Myanmar: Nang May Thu Aung
  • The Philippines: Ivana Sophia C. Diano
  • Singapore: Cheo Zi Han
  • Thailand: Krittin Laohawarutchai
  • Vietnam: Phuong H. Dao

At last International Day for Biological Diversity event, EU Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Francisco Fontan Pardo pointed out.. “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the unique biodiversity in ASEAN together with our partners and to showcase the engagement of youth in preserving the environment. Today we would like to raise awareness on the importance of protecting the environment to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy the biodiversity of our planet. The EU is a firm supporter of preserving the environment in the ASEAN region, with programmes in particular supporting biodiversity conservation in ASEAN and ASEAN Heritage Parks.”

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